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(3rd LD) Nearly 60 pct of voters cast ballots in general elections as of 4 p.m.

All News 16:30 April 15, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with latest turnout; CHANGES photo)
By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- Voter turnout for parliamentary elections Wednesday reached 59.7 percent as of 4 p.m., 9.5 percentage points higher than at the same time in the previous elections four years ago, the National Election Commission (NEC) said.

According to the commission, some 26.3 million South Koreans had completed casting ballots with two hours left for the voting at 14,330 polling stations nationwide in crucial elections that are seen as a referendum on President Moon Jae-in amid the country's fight against the new coronavirus.

The figure includes part of a record high turnout of 26.69 percent in last week's two-day early voting, as well as votes by overseas South Korean nationals and those aboard ships, the NEC said.

Wednesday's turnout already topped the 2016 elections' 58 percent and is forecast to surpass 60 percent for the first time in 16 years since the turnout reached 60.6 percent in the 2004 parliamentary elections.

This year, a total of 44 million people were eligible to vote in the elections.

The voting, which began at 6 a.m., was to end at 6 p.m.

People under self-quarantine due to the virus will be allowed to cast ballots after the regular voting ends, if they have no symptoms and have expressed a willingness to vote.

Vote counting was expected to begin at around 6:30 p.m.

This photo, taken on April 15, 2020, shows a polling booth to be exclusively used by voters under self-isolation due to symptoms of the new coronavirus outside a polling station in Seoul's Jongno Ward, as South Korea holds general elections the same day amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus. The voters under self-isolation are allowed to cast ballots after 6 p.m., when the voting ends. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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